Langston Hughes was a very famous African American Poet
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Elzhi is too good, he can make you cry while listening to him rap.
This is enjambment, the line continues onto the next line.
In Hebrew the meaning of El is “God’s spirit”, and Zhi is “seven” which is also a spiritual number in Hebrew.
Common is saying how this battle between Cube and him isn’t like the East vs West where if you where from the West, people on the East would hate you like for example The Source Award 1995:
Common said he was getting love in Cali where Ice Cube is from. Also, Common is from Chicago, which is on neither of the coasts.
Gotta Love Em
From dribbling a basketball to drug dealing, it’s the culture of the people of the ghetto where Common is from (which is Chicago, Illinois).
It could also be a reference to Zapp and Roger Troutman’s single, “More Bounce to the Ounce,” a classic in hip-hop culture.
The aforementioned song has been sampled by quite a few tracks… including MC Breed’s “Ain’t No Future in Yo Frontin',” The Notorious B.I.G.‘ “Goin' Back to Cali,” and E.P.M.D.’s, “You Gots to Chill.”
Cops patrolling an area in a city that is perceived as dangerous and unpleasant
The imagery here of a grotesque modern beast is reminiscent of the apocalyptic beast in Yeats’s poem “Second Coming”:
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The people in the crowd had no response, as if Talib’s words and performance were no big deal. Talib is throwing pearls to swine in the spoiled (and over-saturated) NYC rap scene, circa 1998.
“Ghetto birds” is a Brooklyn slang for helicopters
People flock together,
Move and swarm with changing ‘weather’